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EXCLUSIVE Pope Francis denies he is planning to resign soon

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EXCLUSIVE Pope Francis denies he is planning to resign soon

Unsubstantiated rumours fuel reports of impending resignation Pope laughs at cancer rumours: ‘Doctors didn’t tell me’ travel to Moscow and Kyiv more likely; US court ruling likely in September, Pope calls abortion a ‘hired killer’

VATICAN CITY, July 4 (Reuters) – Pope Francis has dismissed reports that he plans to resign in the near future, saying he is expected to visit Canada this month and hopefully to Moscow and Kyiv soon. That.

In an exclusive interview at the Vatican residence, Francis also denied rumors that he had cancer, joked that his doctor “did not tell me anything about it” and detailed for the first time the knee that made him inoperable situation. some responsibilities.

The 85-year-old pope, who spoke in Italian for 90 minutes on Saturday afternoon without aides present, also reiterated his concerns about abortion following last month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling. condemn.

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Media rumours are swirling that a series of events in late August, including a meeting with the world’s cardinals to discuss the new Vatican constitution, the inauguration of a new cardinal and a visit to the Italian city of L’Aquila, could herald a resignation announcement.

L’Aquila is related to Pope Celestine V, who resigned from the papacy in 1294. Pope Benedict XVI visited the city four years before his resignation in 2013, the first pope to do so in about 600 years.

But throughout the interview, Francis was wary and lighthearted when discussing a wide range of international and church issues, and he laughed off the idea.

“All these coincidences made some people think the same ‘ritual’ would happen,” he said. “But it never got into my head. Not for a while, not for a while, no. Really!”

Francis did, however, repeat his often stated position that he might one day resign if ill health made it impossible for him to run the church – something almost unthinkable before Benedict XVI.

Asked when he thought it might be, he said: “We don’t know. God will tell.”

knee injury

The interview happened on the day he was going to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, a trip he had to cancel because doctors said he might also miss a trip to Canada from July 24-30 unless he agreed to more than 20 days of treatment and right knee rest.read more

He said the decision to cancel his trip to Africa caused him “a lot of pain”, especially because he wanted to promote peace between the two countries.read more

Francis walked on crutches into the reception room on the ground floor of the Santa Marta Hotel, where he has lived since his election in 2013, avoiding the Pope’s apartment at the Apostolic Palace used by his predecessor.

In the room is a copy of Francis’ favorite painting: “Mary, the Enchantment,” by the German Joachim Schmidtner around 1700.

When asked about his condition, the Pope joked: “I’m still alive!”

He has detailed his condition in public for the first time, saying he walked the wrong foot when a ligament inflamed, causing a “minor fracture” in his knee.

“I’m fine, I’m getting better,” he said, adding that the fracture was woven with the help of laser and magnetic therapy.

Francis also dismissed rumors that the cancer was discovered a year ago, when he underwent a six-hour surgery to remove part of his colon for diverticulitis, a common disease among older adults.

“It (surgery) was a huge success,” he added with a laugh, “and they didn’t tell me anything about the so-called cancer,” which he dismissed as “court gossip.”

But he said he did not want to have surgery on his knee because of the side effects of the general anesthesia used in last year’s operation.

Pope’s trip to Moscow?

Referring to the situation in Ukraine, Francis pointed out that Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had been in contact with each other about a possible trip to Moscow.

The first signs were not good. The pope has never visited Moscow, and Francis has repeatedly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; last Thursday, he implicitly accused it of waging a “brutal and senseless war of aggression.”read more

When the Vatican first asked about the trip a few months ago, Francis said Moscow replied that it was not the right time.

But he hinted that something may have changed now.

“I want to go to (Ukraine), I want to go to Moscow first. We exchanged information on that because I thought if the Russian president gave me a small window to serve the cause of peace…

“It is now possible, after I come back from Canada, that I may try to go to Ukraine,” he said. “The first thing is to go to Russia and try to help in some way, but I want to go to both capitals.”

Abortion ruling

Asked about the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling establishing a woman’s right to an abortion, Francis said he respects the decision but doesn’t have enough information to talk about it from a legal perspective.read more

But he strongly condemned abortion, likening it to a “hired killer.” The Catholic Church teaches that life begins at the moment of conception.

“I asked: Is it legal and correct to take a person’s life to solve a problem?”

Pope Francis was asked about the debate in the United States whether a Catholic politician who is personally opposed to abortion but supports the option of others should be allowed to receive communion.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for example, was banned from receiving communion there by the conservative archbishop of her home diocese of San Francisco, but she regularly receives it in a Washington, D.C. parish. Pope Mass in the Vatican.read more

“When the Church loses its pastoral character, when the bishops lose their pastoral character, political problems arise,” the Pope said. “That’s all I can say.”

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Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Kevin Liffey

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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